Iclal Akcay – Munich Blues

Munich Blues
by Iclal Akcay

I drifted asleep
before his story
came to an end.
His left arm,
on the dark-blue duvet
his face,
half buried in my hair.

There was nothing else we wanted
from Munich’s fashionable streets
in his room
half Pennsylvania,
half Ankara.
We lay cuddled,
his story-telling voice
still in my ear.

it was just after the fall…
of the Wall…
the time for
buying expensive art,
parking your Porsche out front,
sipping cappuccinos on Leopoldstraße.
and dancing ‘til dawn
in minimalistic, Strenesse clothes
at P1 Cafe

No more
‘Zwillingsschwester Wiedersehen!’
The two sisters having grown up
on opposite sides,
one, a hot shot, IT company owner
who had moved to Munich,
the other, an assembly line worker,
in East Berlin,
with three children
working evenings
as a café Kellnerin.

The party went on
the w-h-o-l-e night,
people getting drunk,
others connecting,
around the Russian men,
and their rounds of nomenklatura,
who were teaching the German elite,
busy networking,
the fine art of standing aloof
in their elegant evening suits
while drinking shots of vodka.

among the art and icon dealers,
a tall man,
staring at me,
and mischievously smiling,
with eyes…
reminding me of Russian winters,
apparently a Gorbachev adviser,
bottle after bottle, chasing women,
a spy catcher.

The very same day,
I met Danny
on the top-floor cafe
of an art gallery.
He was standing,
as usual,
at the top of an escalator,
a glimpse frozen on his face
as if he’d just seen his tormentor.

One blue tent for gamblers,
Competing with the starry night
a belly dancer on a table
and on the second floor,
a fortune teller,
with sad eyes
who held my hand
and buried secrets
deep in my mind’s cache.

The twin sisters’ reunion was approaching,
the waitress would travel by train,
all the way from
Jetzt eine vereintes Berlin!
I stayed for the other sister’s party
by the Starnberger See,
the biggest of five, misty-blue lakes,
surrounding Munich,
in a natural spree.

Danny’s mom, in his story,
is a beautiful American girl,
who lives in a comfort zone
with her well-off family.
One day she drives into a gas station
on her way home
from the university
without knowing
she’s about to have
a pump-boy epiphany.

After the party,
the shared morning ride
made me an incidental witness
to the sisters’ meeting,
which was neither warm,
nor emotional enough for my liking.
The older sister,
the East Berliner,
the one with the silly hat and
plain clothes, was definitely overweight.
I was the first Turkish person she’d ever met.

The face next to Danny’s was his ex
from the university
standing beside him,
like an organic gear,
an attachment to his body.

We dropped her
at an overly cheap B&B,
and drove away immediately
to her sister’s city home
for tea.
Cakes were served,
Espressos sipped,
The dog walked.
Not a word was said
about the older sister,
other than ‘different!’

I dreamt of a thick, foggy-blue forest
in Danny’s arms
after he’d cooked an oven dish
we’d eaten together
with a German girl,
his last ex,
sleeping in the room adjacent.
I heard him calling his mom
Lost in the forest of my dream.
A lock of hair…
fallen over his forehead,
his eyes — moist, deep blue.
calm as a deep mountain lake,
who disappeared one day.

Daniel Bachhuber – Provisions for the Soul

Provisions for the Soul
by Daniel Bachhuber

In Memoriam, Frank Gross

You lead me to an abstract by Ruffino Tamayo—
orange, yellow, burgundy
piled and lessened where it has to be,
a benevolence of light that nourishes me.

Here, it is enough to amplify
provisions for the soul, to express—
the mix of sand, flowers
and copper filings Tamayo bakes

in imagination before grinding them blue;
lumps of ochre or precious cinnabar
crushed into extracts
and raised on a sail
against a white sky.

Daniel Bachhuber – The Echo of Bergamo

The Echo of Bergamo
by Daniel Bachhuber

That boy with a basket on his back,
like an upturned ten-gallon hat.
He wears a perturbed, quizzical expression
as he consents to the camera and the Americans.
A single frame out of his whole life
enters the lens and dies on a piece of paper.

We were long enough in Bergamo
the town is in us,
and we are like upturned hats
filled by the echo on a stone street,
the smoke of moisture in a field.

We know the iron gate
that opens to the chamber orchestra
playing Mozart while rain
darkens the tree trunks.

We know the walk out of town,
the road like one more terrace,
only wider, and gray,
of the cultivated hillside
of the wine that sweetens
in the eye of the grape.

Moira Egan – 48th Birthday Sonnet

48th Birthday Sonnet
from Hot Flash Sonnets
by Moira Egan

I don’t want cake. I’ve lost all urge for sweets,
including fruit, to my dear one’s despair.
He knows I’ll eat it if it’s wrapped in meat
(figs and prosciutto), or soaked in Sauternes.

These days I’ll take the bitter, and the salt,
though bitterness, they say, is a disorder
—look in the DSM-V, doctor’s orders—
To shut mine up, I take it for a walk.

I share this day with certain gentlemen
who took the early exit: Hemingway,
John Gardner (speeding round that bend), Hart Crane.
Compared to theirs, my death wish holds no candle.

I’ll blow it out. Sometimes wishes come true.
My father died when he was fifty-two.

Megan M. Garr – Home, Not Home

Home, Not Home
by Megan M. Garr

It is as though our hope had begun to hover in a void.
—Robert Baker

We’re still waiting for the poems to be
written about this.
Don’t mistake me, this is not a poem
about this. I am only looking down
from a plane and saying
I made this, too,
the perfect land
of my expatriation, I fly over it and can say
the maps were right
it looks just like this
but cannot say that, later,
returning home. Home keeps going—
you can’t keep the shape
in one eyesight, and maybe that’s the problem.

We’re still waiting for all the poems.
We will divide them equally among ourselves,
one for the cure to cancer, one for every border
we have longed to cross, which is all of them.
And a poem for the mix tape you lost
with that song on it, the one you haven’t heard since
but dream about; one for that song, too,
and for the day you lost her,
the day you knew you’d lost her, not the day
you tried. And one for every continent,
then one for our countries, cities, and so forth
until our assemblies are down to only cells;
a poem for every atom
that creates you, and you.

What else can we throw around,
into comets, traverse the distance between Orion’s torso
and the reach of his sword.
We’ll build a bridge to it, chutes and ladders,
mark our slow way with tea lights,
send emails home to family
about our progress, ask, do you see it yet? say,
we’ll be over Missouri in about a week,
keep a steady pace but not quick,
no, we want the building to last forever, or close,
this escape route to nothing in particular, while we wait
for all the poems to be written
about this
we are waiting for nothing in particular.

Megan M. Garr – Relief

by Megan M. Garr

I am kneeling
on a beach I
have never
seen and cannot
Is every
as surprised
as this,
to find something.
Push in,
push in,
my hands
deepen in
the sand. It is warm,
it has
been holding
this in for
ever—I imagine
I am the first
to walk here.
It doesn’t
that I’m wrong.
Right now,
it is possible to stay.
In time,
those who live here
will notice
the shape left,
measure the extent,
cast its diameters.

Bryan R. Monte – Foucault in California

Foucault in California
by Bryan R. Monte

How dangerous it is to go out these days
The ground always shifting beneath my feet
Telegrams of subterranean terrors
Molten fissures that will not heal.
Each new shakeout leaves fewer standing
As I stumble through these rolling hills
And afterwards take a silent census
Counting backwards to map the fracture.

Learn to read the geology, I said
How each new era suddenly appears
Sharp and discontinuous, layers of hard, gray shale
Suddenly replaced by soft, red sandstone
But stacked as neatly as books in the library
Until the archive is upended
Shelves twisted back upon each other
Fence posts separated by several metres.

Words have lives of their own
Constantly mating and mutating
They deserve our interrogations
Call me silly and I will know
I was once bless’d
Say something sucks or pisses you off
And I will moan approval of your good taste
Your acquisition of the queens’ English.

Everywhere there is a record and I must respond to it
Whether maculate or inarticulate I must (re)uncover it
I am the archaeologist of angst
The cartographer of crazies
The savant of surveillance
Translating the tremors in my body
Into the eruptions of books in the library
My brain boils with my discoveries.

Bryan R. Monte – The Limelight

The Limelight
by Bryan R. Monte

For Jerome Caja

You were the tall, thin, blond boy with thick glasses
That pinched your long, freckled nose
Your neckerchief missing, your cap askew
Your blue shirt open to your milky waist
Shouting your older brother’s profanities
Into the thick backstage curtains
As you forced me into a white sheet
To play the Virgin in the Christmas pageant
Where’d they get a girl to play Mary?
A man standing next to my mother asked.

The next summer, lying next to you in a tent
Listening to the scoutmasters’ late night card playing
And the sigh of the dim yellow Coleman lamp
Drift across the wet meadow, I thought I’d scanned
Some understanding in your head
Which had decoded my urgent telepathy
Before I finally asked you to hold my hand.
You gave it to me reluctantly
Then half an hour later took it away
You told all the boys the next day.

From then there was no reaching you
Separated into different classrooms
I begged your new teacher to bring us together
In the parking lot during recess.
You called me a fag and ran away shouting
I’m only going to hang out with the cool people
And so you did.
At the monthly Boy Scout campouts
I’d lie on the grass
Next to a tent no one would share
As you led the other boys on a hike
Into the woods to smoke cigarettes
Or to look at your older brother’s porn
While I read science fiction novels
About spaceships traveling at light speed
Or practised pushing the clouds
Through the afternoon sky.

Then a newspaper article ten years later
Seemed to tell a different story
The bad boy turned social worker/seminarian
Busy with a flock of adoring, teenage youth
At the inner city Catholic mission
But the five by seven inch photo
With your shoulder length hair
Surrounded by young delinquents
Seemed a bit too photogenic
And eight years later
While writing my radio news script
You face floated up again,
Framed by stringy, blond hair
Your unmistakable long, freckled nose
Above double rows of black and white lipstick
On the front page of the gay newspaper
A “recovering Catholic,”
Who frequented the parks
The Wednesday night mistress
Of jockstrap Jello wrestling
The alternative candidate
For Royal Court Queen
Your anorexic body wrapped
In a see-through plastic gown,
Red, blue and clear water pouches
With swimming goldfish,
Designed for your art school graduation
Your Sacred Heart Circle Jerk
And Flossing with Jesus
Hanging in two different San Francisco galleries
Your nailpolish, white-out and enamel self-portrait,
The Birth of Venus in Cleveland,
Wearing only a bra and fishnet stockings,
In the Smithsonian Americana Collection.

The coincidence of who we are
And who we know and how we change
And pass out of each other’s lives
Pulled apart by the same current
Only to surface years later
In the same seaside city
Thousands of miles away
Still playing the same roles
The introvert and the celebrity
As you loll in a black, slit evening dress
To the hoots of your tattooed, leather friends
As I cover the alternative nightclub benefit
Then rush off to my next event
In another part of the city
Losing my chance to speak to you again.
The same as in the beginning
Left to my books and daydreams
You still holding the limelight.

Eleonore Schönmaier – Sometimes

by Eleonore Schönmaier

Elisabeth Mann Borgese, 1918-2002,
youngest daughter of Thomas Mann.
Medi was her childhood name.

all you have to do
is enter. Elisabeth
had no locks

on her doors.
What are you afraid
of: the seven

dogs who drool
and stare
at you when you step

inside or the old
human being, you
in the future, sitting

alone with abandoned
ideas on the sofa?
Elisabeth with her dream for oceanic

peace was the only woman
founder of the Club
of Rome: this is what you’ll find

when you enter the Roma gates:
a fragment of Shelley’s jaw bone
inside an alabaster

urn, salvaged from the beach
pyre. Elisabeth’s law of the sea
students also studied

the body: preserved in a jar
in the anatomy museum: the uterus
like a sea creature swimming

in liquid. There’s still so much
we don’t know: where do the blue whales
calve? Elisabeth in her Atlantic

living room acted without fear. If you accidently
stumbled in she would offer you a glass
of gin. Elisabeth knew the danger of closed door

debate. She fled
Germany, and when she was safe her father
wrote in his journal: I walked arm

in arm with Medi
once more. Her mathematician
grandfather also escaped, but into

a short-lived
future. Mathematicians now solve
proofs using blog

as journal with multiple
authors. Laws
are what we need when we’re secretive

in the labs
holding keys in our hands
searching for the best

answers. Perhaps the old woman
fishing at dawn for dinner in her small wooden boat
knows where the blue whales give birth.

Ronald Linder – Cornell

by Ronald Linder

Joe Cornell made me in all
his boxes … owl, doll, pink palace,
Lauren Bacall, twigs, apothecary
jars, animal bone buttons …

Stare at my head through
the open ceiling of his
room on the cover of a
magazine …

Wicker chair, folding table
fragment of a mirror,
Blue Italian Prince …

Gaze down at me
in his frame and wonder
if I know I’m there.